Friday, July 10, 2015

Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park

Last night Noelle, Sierra and I stayed in the primitive campground at Guest/Shenandoah River State Park. It was an interesting experience as we had to use a cart to wheel our stuff to our campsite. We survived a short rainstorm on a muggy night in the tent. This morning we awoke and headed over to one of our newest National Park Service sites: Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park.

We drove into Middletown, Virginia and found the NPS visitor center in a strip mall. We learned that the site was the scene of a decisive, though seemingly improbable Union victory towards the end of the Civil War. We checked out the exhibits and grabbed a brochure for the self-guided driving tour. Then we set out. We skipped a portion of the driving tour as it wound through mostly-private property where we would have no opportunity to get out and see things.What we did see included the 128th New York Monument
128th New York
and the very interesting grounds of Belle Grove Plantation.

There is a self-guided tour of the Belle Grove grounds that we took advantage of. Besides the plantation home itself (which was built in 1797),
Belle Grove Plantation
there was a nice garden,
walking flower garden
in garden
filled with lots of different flowers.
purple coneflower
Sierra sniffs flowers
There were also lots of outbuildings to see, and a simple slave cemetery, its graves marked with crude stone.
slave cemetery
Every time I visit slave cemeteries I wonder about the people buried there, who toiled their entire lives only to be buried in unmarked graves.

After visiting Belle Grove we continued our driving tour and then started to make our way north again.

No comments: